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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, hope you all are doing better than me! My sportwagen slid into a curb @ 5mph during the winter months and long story short I have to replace the wheel at least. Attached is the alignment data with four good wheels. Now the car pulls to the left. The dealer thinks the strut is bent, but can't be sure. Even after driving the car for five months with a bent wheel all the tires show no evidence of suspension problems. Any of you guys know how to diagnose problems in a _slightly_ bent suspension? Any suggestions on how to proceed?

Thanks!

-Tom

View attachment 20110607_alignment.pdf
 

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Get an alignment. They'll straighten it out. I think firestone will inspect your suspension and what not for like $20. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Get an alignment.
Sorry, didn't mention that I got an alignment at a VW dealer already. That's where the alignment data came from and the alignment is what made the car pull to the left. If I have to go back to the dealer, I'd like some fresh ideas on what the problem could be before they try to convince me the suspension needs to be replaced to get a good alignment.

What is the suspension on these cars made out of? Tin foil? I hit all kinds of crap with my Ford F-150 and the steering never drifted like this.
 

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cant really compare a suspension from a truck ment to go off road/take abuse/ ect to a car ment to be drivin on the pavement and not hit curbs.

Why dont you just jack the car up and see if there is a bent strut, tie rod, or loose ball joint or something? Id take it back to the dealer though and ***** a fit. They get paid to find the problem so how can they just say they think it might be this?

To diag the strut jack it up, take the wheel off, and look at the shiney part under the dust boot (acordian looking part inside the spring.) Best way to test it is to take it off so its fully decompressed, but should be able to see it this way if it is bent.
vw.jpg

look at your tie rod too and make sure its straight, and wiggle your ball joints to make sure there is little to no play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice. What do the pics represent? Bent struts? I looked at everything and, like the VW dealer, can't find anything bent, leaking, or binding.

I took the car in to get the alignment checked since the steering changed. I was guessing the steering adjusted itself either because something is bending more (not likely) or the alignment tech left something loose. After 1.5 hours the service rep asked me to take a test drive. WTF. I was only there for an alignment check. He said he fixed the alignment by popping the steering wheel off and centering it. I asked for the alignment data, which he couldn't provide. He said he "knew" it was in alignment. I reminded him I was only in there for an alignment check. He reluctantly took the car back. After more than an hour I had to leave and let the service rep know. After fifteen more minutes the service rep handed me alignment data (attached) indicting they did another alignment (of course, with the steering wheel not on straight because they had taken it off earlier). And now the car is back to driving straight with the steering wheel hanging at 5 degrees off center. My guess is the steering wheel sensor is reading something like 10 degrees when the car is driving straight. I had to leave, but I let the service rep know I wasn't happy.

Check out how the toe drifted out of spec (both front and rear) after only a week. Is that normal? Should I give up going to this VW dealer? I don't think their alignment people know what they are doing.

View attachment 20110614_alignment.pdf
 

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I think they're might be an issue that the dealer just isn't catching.

Try jacking up the front of your car and spinning the right front wheel and then see if it wobbles. I'm thinking you may have a bent hub or related part to that but I can't be sure.
 

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If there's another dealer, even within 50 miles or so, take it there for a second opinion and don't say anything about hitting a curb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just two more alignment questions for you guys: 1) Can the dealer adjust front camber on these cars? 2) Is rotating the steering wheel on its splines a legit method for a dealer to align a vehicle?

After the last "alignment" and receiving my VAGCOM cable and Bently Service Manual, I checked the specs and the steering wheel angle. When the steering wheel is centered, VCDS reports it's off by 7.5 degrees. This is easy to see when the car is driving straight and the wheel is off-center and when turning the steering wheel from lock to lock. The front camber difference is .6 (as you can see in the previously attached alignment data) where the tolerance in the manual is only .5 degrees. Should I expect the dealer to bring the camber into tolerance or is that not normally covered in an alignment?

Also, not wanting to deal with this dealership anymore, I called up VWofA Customer Care. They said they could not do anything because this is a "workmanship issue". So I guess the VW dealer is off the hook if they can't do service properly? I never expected a German car company to be so nonchalant about their technicians' poor work.
 
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